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Warragul, Victoria, April 16, 2005

Brett R. gets up at Lillico Handicap

By Trent Brown

On a perfect Saturday afternoon for racing, 28 riders turned out for a three lap handicap race around the Lillico circuit. Staf Duncan required his many skills to determine the correct order for starting, as many riders were coming off limited training or injury. While the murmur around the riders at the beginning was that no A-grader was going to get up on the day, there were plenty of other potential winners in the five different groups that were sent around the circuit.

The outmarkers riding off 15 minutes had a good start, as they had a 7.5 minute break on the next group to leave. The outmarkers group consisted of Rod Atkinson, Brendan Pridmore, Travis Parker, Lawrence Maskill and Chris Herreen, who all rode the majority of the first lap together before the pace that Chris, Rod and Travis were pedalling caused both Brendan Pridmore and Lawrence Maskill to drop off. The pace was good for one lap of the circuit, with the first three riders all breaking 20 minutes. These three kept the tempo high as their second lap was also pretty much on the 20 minute mark.

Next to begin were Dave Bailie, Paul Yeatman, Michael Pridmore, Brett Miller, Ross Henry and Steve Hall. This group needed to work well together to catch the outmarkers in front of them. The teamwork was apparent with all riders pulling their turns on various parts of the course. This consistent riding enabled them to complete the first lap in a tick over 17 minutes. The pace did ease slightly during the second lap as those early bursts trying to stay away from anyone behind them used their energy reserves and as such the lap took 30 seconds longer than the first. The group was still working well over the second lap and was still clear of any riders in B or A grade when they passed Staf for the last time. However, the sense in the peloton was that they were to be shortly joined by riders from other grades.

Staf broke the B grade riders into two different bunches, based on the assumption that these riders were less 'strong' than the others behind them. This group included Justen O'Connor, Rob Monk, Luke Hanley, Graeme Coull (welcome to the club!), Chris Beales and eventual winner Brett Rollinson, who started two minutes in front of the next B grade bunch. These five were riding off the mark of 10 minutes, probably realising early on that one of them was going to be the eventual winner of the race, as they had a five minute start on any rider in A grade - as long as they kept the pace high. So this was the order of the day for the group, riding an ever-quick first lap in 15 minutes 50 seconds. This pace was too quick for Monk and Hanley who dropped off early, leaving Coull, O'Connor, Beales and Rollinson to work as a team to catch all the others in front of them. The group worked well together, riding the second lap in under 16 minutes, closing the gap to all those in front of them.

Starting two minutes in arrears of this group were Peter Bailey, Steve Twinning, Geoff Thomson, Trent Brown, James Henry and Tim Lee. The pace was on from the start as this group knew that A grade was only three minutes behind them. The questions were asked whether to sit up and wait or roll through and stay away. While the latter was chosen, the group worked well together under the tutelage of Thommo was marshalling the troops. This group stayed all together for nearly all the three laps, with lap 1 completed in just over 16 minutes, lap two in 16:28.

A grade had the hardest job of the day trying to bridge the 15 minute gap to the outmarkers. Some thought it impossible, and in reality was probably there was a touch too much time between the scratchies and outmarkers as a result of the harsh handicapping system applied by Staf (bad luck boys!). Fresh from a hiatus of about four months the club welcomed back Shane Stiles, who was joined by the recently new adult Stevie Sandner (happy 18th!), Scott Keeble, Matt Malacarne and Jason Kruger. They rode an exceptional quick first lap in 15:19, completing the second in 15:40. They tried valiantly to bridge the gap but to no avail.

The eventual winner, Brett Rollinson and his group of riders including O'Connor, Coull, and Beales caught C grade just near the Drive In on the last lap. This created a super group of riders from which the eventual winner was to come. They continued to pick up the outmarkers on the last lap. It was along Bloomfields Road that Rollinson decided to make a jump for it and put the pace on for a short burst putting 50 metres into the remaining peloton. Beales and O'Connor knew this a dangerous move and needed to be countered so they adjusted their tempo with O'Connor doing most of the work to get the others back on just before the final turn. O'Connor led down the first hill on Lillico Road, before being passed by Coull, Yeatman, Bailie and Rollinson. Down the second hill positions remained the same. Rollinson jumped for the line on his way up the second rise, with O'Connor grabbing second, and Yeatman third. The rest of the riders from various grades finished within four minutes of the winner.

Next week a scratch race will be held at the Fishers Road circuit beginning at 2 pm.

Local results 2004